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Development of HBMS

How was the system created?

To carry out the national obligations undertaken in the Convention on Biological Diversity, biologists and nature conservation experts joined forces to find the reasons for the decline of biodiversity in Hungary. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) first drafted a biodiversity conservation strategy, which identified the accomplishable tasks and stressed the importance of continuous national monitoring. The Institute of Ecology and Botany (HAS) elaborated the theoretical basis of monitoring activities, and the Hungarian Natural History Museum collected the already existing scientific knowledge pertaining to biodiversity monitoring. The design of the Hungarian Biodiversity Monitoring System was initiated and organised by the Authority for Nature Conservation of the Ministry of Environment and Regional Policy in 1995. To carry out this monumental project, the PHARE Programme of the European Union contributed substantial financial assistance. This programme enabled the creation of the programme of a national monitoring network that might serve as a reference for other countries. A series of 11 manuals in Hungarian has been published by the end of 1996.

The distribution of the proposed network of 5 by 5 km sampling quadrats in Hungary is shown in the Organisation Figure. Mapping in these quadrats at landscape level yields the framework within which the more detailed community-oriented repeated investigations can be carried out.

The different sampling and data-collecting methods of the Hungarian Biodiversity Monitoring System were tested in an experimental site in the floodplain of the River Tisza in 1995. The enlarged map shows the landscape structure of this site. On this area the characteristics of the different plant communities have been described, and the occurrences of the targeted animal and plant species were also recorded. Therefore the information recorded at different organisational levels (populations, communities/associations, landscape) became comparable.

Establishment of the organisation, beginning of sampling

The programme also proposed to establish a Biodiversity Monitoring Service that provides guidance and administrative management, and carries out sampling within the state nature conservation organisations.
The first year in the operation of the system was 1997, when a Central Coordination Unit was formed, mainly to fulfil the project management duties by employing two experts. Since 1998 one full-time post in each of the nine national park directorates has been devoted to implementing local tasks, to coordinate and supervise the monitoring activities within the area of jurisdiction of the given directorate.
Development and coordination of the national programmes are provided by the Central Coordination Unit, while local task are coordinated regionally by each national park directorate. Guidance is also provided by an independent Advisory Committee comprised of acknowledged experts of different taxa/disciplines (see Figure Organisation Figure). The service also welcomes the contribution of institutes, universities or non-governmental organisation that can assist the Central Coordination Unit or the regional teams. Those tasks that do not require expert input, may be carried out by volunteers from nature conservation societies or schools. The service also plays an important role in raising the awareness of the general public.
Sampling has been running with an increasing number of components in 10 projects (10projects.doc) since 1998.


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